Haere mai to our new New Zealanders


This year Nayland College is expecting more former refugees, predominantly Kayah people, from the border of Burma and Thailand. Due to Covid-19, there is now a backlog at the Mangare Resettlement Centre. As part of their social studies self-directed learning project, Ysabella Abel and Pippa Sussex are creating ‘Haere Mai’ bags as a way to welcome new refugee students into our school. These consist of school bags filled with essentials like stationery and other helpful items. Pippa and Ysabella explain why they are doing this and what you can do to help.

Each year New Zealand accepts 1000 refugees. As of July 2020, New Zealand will be welcoming 1500 refugees per year. Currently the 2019/20 refugee quota has reached 795 refugee arrivals. Once in the country, refugees go to the Refugee Resettlement Centre in Mangere, before being dispersed around the country. We will be accepting a steady stream of refugees, throughout the year.

Last year, our 9A Social Studies class came up with the idea of creating welcome bags for the new former refugee students coming to the school, filled with school supplies and other welcoming items. Our goal was to try our best to make their transition easier and make them feel welcomed. Last year our class donated the money themselves, with the help of the international department here at Nayland College.

This year though, it is just us continuing this project on our own, with the help of Shellee Hall (Head of ESOL). We will be holding a casual dress day on Friday 26 June to raise money for the supplies needed for the bags. However, if you want to help further, there is a refugee funds account that you can donate to through the business centre here at Nayland. All of the money we raise will go to supporting the refugees that arrive at our school.

A lot of the former refugees arriving at our school have been through so much and come to Nelson with nothing. As a community, it is our duty to look after these new members and make them feel at home here at Nayland. These bags are our way of showing our support and making them feel welcomed. 

By Pippa Sussex and Ysabella Abel